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Steven Jones (401) receives time penalty

I normally don’t make a big fuss about time penalties. Simply because I don’t like giving them. Luckily, it does not happen often that I do have to announce one. However, this one matters and that’s why I will make a post about it.

On the last day of his race, Steven Jones slept on the trail and was almost hit by a snowmobile travelling at high speed. As soon as I heard this I told Steven that the penalty would come. I just needed to digest it a bit. Obviously, the penalty does not diminish Steven’s achievement of having reached Dawson City. In his particular case, the 12 hour time penalty still leaves him with the medal, too. However, it makes him the last in the rankings and had he arrived in Dawson late at night on the 16th, it would have made him a DNF.

The 12 hour time penalty will also apply for any future cases of athletes sleeping on the trail. It is relevant for cut-offs! If an athlete does it a 2nd time, the consequence is immediate disqualification. The reason for the severe penalty is that sleeping on the trail can easily come with fatal consequences. In Steven’s case this almost happened. As you all can imagine, that’s an absolute nightmare scenario – not just for the athlete but also for his/her family, the other people involved in the accident and the entire crew! SO LET THIS BE A WARNING TO ALL FUTURE MYAU ATHLETES: DO NOT SLEEP ON THE TRAIL!

An emotional last day


The last five days went by incredibly quick. This is just a brief summary. A full race report will follow soon.

Matt Weighman (Scotland) placed 2nd overall and 1st on foot. Laura Trentani (Italy) came third overall and 2nd on foot. Tommy Chen (Taiwan) arrived in 4th place overall and third in the foot category. From the 12th to yesterday (16th) we have seen a very high percentage of athletes finish our longest race distance. In fact I do not believe that we have ever seen such a high number of finishers in the 430. I think there are several reasons for it. One, the weather was not extremely cold. Yes, it got down to -35 degrees C in some nights and in some places. But we were not faced with a cold spell with temperatures of -40 or lower. Secondly, the trail was in excellent shape – due to the hard work by the Canadian Rangers and also members of our crew. Needless to say that the cold weather helped, too. Last but not least, the athletes really had very good strategies when it comes to the right balance of effort and rest.

Some participants in our race to Dawson had to scratch. They are all fine but obviously they would have loved to spend more time out on the trails.

Our crew has had to overcome a few extra challenges. On the Dome windblown trails made it impossible to set up the Indian River assistance point as planned. Instead we set up the wall tent 19 miles further north. Normally, crew there would have rotated at least once. With access being more difficult that was not possible and volunteers Jim, Beth and Phil ended up staying there for the entire duration.

We have had some very emotional moments out on the trail and certainly also at the finish line. I will get into a bit more detail about some of the great stories in my race report. For now I would like to simply congratulate all finishers. You did extremely well!

I would also like to thank the Yukon Quest team here in Dawson City. It was a great pleasure to share the finish line with you and it was really cool to see the musher arrive.

Tomorrow we will all drive down to Whitehorse and get together or a party at Tony’s from 6 pm.

Jessie Gladish wins MYAU 430 mile race


Last night (Feb. 12th) at 21:21 Jessie Gladish arrived at our Dawson City finish line. That makes her the overall winner of the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 430 mile race.

A lot of you following us will already know Jessie from previous years. What she has achieved with this year’s win is absolutely amazing. Jessie already finished the MYAU 430 on foot, on skis and now on bike. She is the first woman to do this and the second athlete. Enrico, the locomotive, Ghidoni from Italy managed to finalise this “trilogy” a few years back, too. The athletic achievement of this is insane. I am not sure if we will see more people make this happen in the following (hopefully) decades but I think it will at the most be a handful of  human beings who could possibly do it. And what makes this even more special is the style in which Yukoner Jessie did it. Looking at her at checkpoints and at the finish line you can never tell that she just had an incredibly tough day or a race. She always looks like she just started. On top of that, Jessie is always ready to help and support. She is also the organiser of the official MYAU training course.

The entire MYAU team, also from past years, congratulates Jessie. We are really happy to have been part of this journey.

So, let’s spread the word about this incredible achievement!

Dirk Heller wins 300 mile race


Dirk Heller from Germany is our overall winner for the MYAU 300 mile race. Second came Josh Tebeau (USA) and Elise Zender (Germany). Those two are also a couple and a race like this is a very serious stress test for any relationship. They did it in style! Josh and Elise also entered in the team category placed 1st team. They connected their entry with a fundraiser effort for We Can Run Project which is looking to contribute to the higher education of female students in Sierra Leone. Last and certainly not least came Dirk Groth from Australia who said it was incredibly hard, especially the road from Pelly Farm to Pelly Crossing – due to a lot of fresh and unpacked snow. But he made it before the cut-off of 8 days and I think he liked it 😉

Congratulations to all of you from the entire MYAU team! You did really well. Safe trip home.

Elise and Joshua earlier on in the race


For more photos please check out our gallery. Also, you will find even more images and tons of short videos on our instagram page and in our facebook group.

Jessie Gladish still in the lead of 430 mile race


Day 5 was quite eventful. We knew that Jessie Gladish would be quick. That’s why Peter, Anya and Tony from our checkpoint crew drove to Pelly Crossing with our race RV from Fraserway in the morning. In the meantime, our guides Gary Rusnak and Robert Siefke brought gear for the Scroggie Creek remote checkpoint to Pelly Crossing and Pelly Farm. Later Gary checked on Matt Weighman who is currently second overall and first athletes on foot.

In the afternoon we set up as far as Pelly Farm – and we are all super excited to visit this magical place again. Even better, our athletes get to go out to Pelly Farm on the Pelly River. Due to the often difficult ice conditions that has not happened in years. This section is notoriously cold but also incredibly beautiful. Jessie is now on her way there and may arrive in the early morning hours. At Pelly Farm all 430 mile athletes have a mandatory stop of 8 hours before they head into the most remote section of the race.

Further back and earlier last morning (Feb. 8th) our guides Fabian Schmitz and Hendrik Weise went for some quick troubleshooting near Carmacks. Then they drove out to check towards Mandanna. On the way they came across Pat Cooke-Rogers who was experiencing problems with her bike. They were able to help. This help does mean a time penalty but at least Pat was able to ride some of the remaining distance to the next checkpoint. In the end she did have to push her bike again but she came to Carmacks just before the 4 days and 12 hour deadline.

Shortly after Hendrik and Fabian had helped Pat, Hendrik started having issues with his snowmobile and they got delayed on their way to help bring out our Mandanna crew. At the end of the line, we were constantly monitoring the progress of Tania Halik, hoping she would arrive in Carmacks in time. Unfortunately, it became clear that Tania would not get here before 22:30. Therefore, we brought her out. That was a shame (as it always is) because it is very obvious that Tania would easily make it to Dawson if she would have a bit of extra time. Although she did say that her feet were bothering her. Eventually, Fabian was able to join crew members Sam, Beth, Bryan and Dan. All Mandanna checkpoint gear was loaded and brought to a shortcut to which Hendrik in the meantime had brought his broken machine.

It was great to reunite with them and to see that they really enjoyed this adventure. Special thanks to Bernard Stehelin for preparing the gear that was needed and to Peter Heebink for allowing us to stay at his cabin – with such stunning views!

In between the front and the end things have been moving along well, too. Many more athletes arrived in Carmacks and left again. Our crew here, Sabrina, Phil, Ellie, Callum and Daniel were super busy. Some athlete are still resting in Carmacks and will leave later today. Gareth Hardcastle, Laura Trentani and Tommy Chen are on their way to Pelly Crossing. Chad Bustin is at McCabe Creek where the Kruse family are our host. It will be a busy night there for Jo and Jim from our crew as there will be a steady flow of athletes over night.

Our guides Tom and Chad were busy checking south of McCabe and later picked up drop bags and drove to Pelly Crossing. That way they are not far from Pelly Farm where they need to be in a few hours.

With the above details you get a bit of an idea of the logistics we have and challenges we some times deal with. So, long hours for the athletes and long hours for the crew. But all are very happy and as always, we from the crew, are very impressed by the participants. Yes, there is suffering but there are also a lot of smiles, laughter and fun. And NEVER have we seen such a high percentage of starters make it to Carmacks! To wrap it all up we were able to see some nice Northern Lights.

Copyright: Callum Jolliffe

Chad Barber wins 100 mile race


Day 4 at the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 2023 has just started. Time to take a deep breath. It has been absolutely amazing so far. Our marathon runners did really well. Cheng Lun-Chiang from Taiwan won this distance in 4 hours and 58 minutes. Second place went to Christina Bigrigg from Whitehorse. She arrived at Muktuk Adventures after 4 hours and 59 minutes. Greg Newby, also from Whitehorse, reached the finish line after 5 hours and 02 minutes. All other marathon runners also finished! Special mentions go to Eoin Sheridan from Ireland who lives in the Yukon. He did his run in insulated barefoot shoes and was sitting outside after his race in a t-shirt and without shoes and socks after he was done. Not from this world … I was also really impressed by Daniel Tam from Hong Kong. I think it’s fair to say that his outfit was casual and when he got to Muktuk I could not see a single drop of sweat. Yes, he was taking it easy but I don’t think I have ever seen anything like it. He literally looked as if he had just returned from a day in the office. It was also great to see Jeffrey Mackie-Deernsted from Dawson City arriving. Last time he could not finish his marathon. This year he made it. A big thank you also to Yukoner Jennifer King who joined us once again this year. Congratulations to all and we hope to see you again next year!

Thank you also to our amazing hosts at Muktuk Adventure – the place for people who love dogs. As always the food was amazing and the support and service could not have been better. Beth, from our volunteer crew said “… this probably was the happiest day in her life”. Needless to say she does love dogs 😉. What more can you ask for?!

Two ultra athletes could not go beyond Muktuk. That’s Trevor Messent (Canada) and Joel Rennie (Australia). Trevor had gear related problems and Joel unfortunately had stomach problems. All other athletes headed into the first night. With temperatures reaching about – 25 degrees Celsius in some places. Over night Paul Fosh (England) had the bad luck of sustaining a foot injury. He made the right decision and withdrew at our Dog Grave Lake checkpoint. Normally, quite a few athletes run into problems during the first night. Not this time. A large number of them took a long break during the night which is what we always recommend. Rather than pushing on all the way to checkpoint no 2. That, a firm trail and – by our standards – less extreme temperatures have meant that all of the remaining participants eventually reached the 100 mile finish line and checkpoint at Braeburn Lodge.

Chad Barber (Canada) won the 100 miler. He pushed extremely hard and was totally exhausted when he arrived. Guillaume Grima from France, who is currently working in the Yukon, came 2nd. He also demonstrated great determination and speed. All smiles it looked like he could have continued right on. Rank 3 overall and 1st woman went to Rebecca Ferry. Normally in her sports career Rebecca climbs 8,000 m peaks like Everest. Maybe she now has also discovered her love for winter ultras!

Unfortunately, Arnie Owsley (USA) who finished the very first MYAU 20 years ago, this time could not make it to Braeburn. He sustained a knee injury. All others were able to celebrate, including 73 year old Dave Colley (Canada). Congratulations to all of you.

Currently leading the 300 mile race is Jacob Myers (USA), followed by German Dirk Heller. Dirk Groth (Australia), Elise Zender (Germany) and Josh Tebeau (USA) are not too far behind.

All remaining 430 mile athletes are now resting in Braeburn or are on their to the next checkpoints. Way up ahead is local hero Jessie Gladish on her fatbike. She is having a great time, resting now in Carmacks and planning on heading out again around 4 am. Tommy Chen from Taiwan, who is a runner, is currently 2nd overall our race to Dawson. He should soon reach our Mandanna Lake checkpoint. The crew there is ready for him and all others who will arrive there during the next couple of days.

We have started to fill our results table that shows the in and out times of each checkpoint. But there is always a bit of a delay. If you want live updates of where our athletes are please check out the tracking page powered by There now are first images taken by our race photographer Mark Kelly in our gallery. More will follow. Please note that we are also very active with making post in our facebook group and on our Instagram page.

An impressive first day


The Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 2023 started at 10:31 at Shipyard’s – in Whitehorse yesterday, February 4th. 48 athletes from 13 different countries were really eager to finally head out into the beautiful winter wilderness of the Yukon Territory. Temperatures have been kind to us, ranging from about -10 to – 20 degrees Celsius so far. There was a bit of overflow in some sections but overall the trail is in excellent shape, thanks to the Canadian Rangers, our crew member Gary Rusnak and of course the cooler temperatures. So, no surprise that the bikers had a great day and Jessie Gladish was the first to arrive at both Muktuk Adventures and Dog Grave Lake. For quite a while 100 mile athlete Guillaume Grima was really close to Jessie but eventually she was able to gain ground.

It was also very icy which made many athletes get out their Kahtoola MICROspikes in order not to lose traction. So, thankfully nobody hurt themselves going over the frozen Yukon and Takhini Rivers. The marathoners had a great time and their results will go online soon.

Two athletes are not in the race anymore. That’s Joel Rennie from Australia who had stomach issues all day. Joel is in Whitehorse now and may join us again as unranked further north. The other participant who had to drop out is Canadian Trevor Messent. Trevor is fine and back in Whitehorse, too. Everybody else is still going. We got ZERO “help” messages over night. Which is great (and very unusual)! Many athletes rested out on the trail on their way to Dog Grave Lake, our second checkpoint. They did not push too hard to try and reach the next checkpoint in one go. Looks like that they all did really well, making that decision.

We know there are a couple of SPOTs not showing updates. That’s why we do not only rely on technology but also have a great team of snowmobile guides who are starting to get ready for our daily checks out on the trail.

Please meet Jessie Gladish


Jessie Howland Gladish will do the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 430 mile race on a bike this year – interviewed for a podcast by Yukon North of Ordinary. If she finishes, she will be the second athlete (and first woman) to have done our race to Dawson in all three disciplines – as she already reached that finish line on foot and ski before. We all keep our fingers crossed and look forward to having Jessie with us again!

The countdown is on!


Not much longer now! The most recent Yukon cold spell was a reminder just how extreme things can get during the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra. It’s dangerous under any circumstances but when tempertures reach the – 40°C or even lower, any mistake can be fatal. Athletes in our race know this but a reminder every once in a while does not hurt. It’s also important to note that anybody can get in trouble, even the most experienced participants. Obviously, the raw and challenging wilderness is also a big part of why we are all drawn to the Yukon and challenges like this. It makes us feel alive and – even tough the MYAU is exhausting – it recharges our batteries.

For 2023 we have a great group of athletes who will take off on February 4th at 10:30 AM at Shipyard’s Park in Whitehorse. Provided there are no cancellations, 9 of them are in the marathon, 13 will do the 100 miles, 7 will do the 300 miles and a total of 26 athletes will attempt to finish the 430 mile race that goes all the way to Dawson City. A total of 12 nations will be represented. The youngest is 24 and the oldest participant is 66 years. Many are MYAU veterans but there are also plenty of people having a go at it for the first time.

As always will provide the tracking service via SPOT devices. Each ultra distance athlete gets a tracker and this will allow you and us to follow their progress on the trail via an embedded map on our website’s landing page. In case you are not familiar with this kind of „tracking“, beware, it can be addictive! A big plus for safety, these devices also allow athletes to send us different types of messages, i.e. „Help“, „I am okay“, „I am resting“ and „911“. It’s important to know that a SPOT can fail – like anything that runs with batteries. That’s why athletes need to have a lot of kit with them and also to have the skills needed for survival in difficult situations. We will always try to exchange a SPOT if it does not work but the Yukon has got some very remote areas. So, dealing with this kind of an issue can take time.

Other ways to follow the MYAU are news on our website, our facebook group and instagram. Facebook and instagram will be more frequent.


A sports event like ours would only be half the fun if it weren’t for people who can catch the many great moments via photography. We are lucky and super happy that Mark Kelly will once again take on this role for us. Having been with us many years now he knows when and where to go in order to get the best possible results. Also, Mark is fully selfsufficient on the trail. He is equipped to head out onto the trail on his own which makes things very easy from an organiser’s point of view. Last but not least, Mark usually has got his drone with him and it’s this birdseye view that is so great to see just how vast and beautiful the Yukon is. We will try to have a daily dose of Mark’s photos on our website, facebook group and instagram page. Athletes can order photo packages from Mark and we ask any media interested in our race photography to approach us. We are more than happy to help.

Copyright: Mark Kelly

Getting to know Montane

It’s not often that brands support an event for as long as Montane now has been supporting the Yukon Arctic Ultra. They have been with us almost from the beginning! At the time I was looking for a company that makes clothing that can handle all the challenges that our athletes and crew face. Montane was the answer. The rest is history. To this day Montane makes superb clothing for people who are active in the winter – from a regular cold day to the absolute extreme. Their season’s campaign is „find your unknown“ and if you like ultra races and places like the Yukon you will understand it right away:

Thank you Montane for all these years of being involved and thank you for being with us in 2023!

Local support

It’s so great that once again we can count on the support of local business partners. Thank you

Total North
Driving Force
Fraserway RV
Coast Mountain
Yukon Yamaha
Muktuk Adventures
Atlin Mountain Coffee Roasters
Sternwheeler Hotel Whitehorse
Downtown Hotel in Dawson City

for your help! We could not do it without you.

News from the Yukon Quest

It will be an interesting year for our co-operation with the Yukon Quest. As always we will be on the trail that the Canadian Rangers break for this amazing sleddog race. What’s new in 2023 is the timing. Initially, there was going to be more time between our start and the start of the Yukon Quest. Then the Quest had to make a change and they will start on February 11th, one week after us. So, for the first time ever, there is a good chance that, North of Pelly Farm, the leading mushers will catch up to us. We are all confident that this will work out just fine. Because of the timing MYAU is co-operating with the Quest on checkpoints like Scroggie Creek and Dawson City and we have been in close contact over the last few months co-ordinating. Good luck to all the Quest crew and of course the mushers and their dogs!

Happy New Year!

Last but not least, to all of you – the big MYAU family and all those following our adventure – HAPPY NEW YEAR!